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Clemson 52, Wake Forest 3

CLEMSON, S.C. - Trevor Lawrence tied his career high with four touchdowns, three to Tee Higgins, and No. 3 Clemson won its 26th straight game and completed a second straight perfect Atlantic Coast Conference regular season with a 52-3 victory over Wake Forest.

The Tigers (11-0, 8-0, No. 3 CFP) opened quickly and, after an uncomfortable stretch of four series with just a field goal, turned it on again right before halftime to win their 11th in a row over the Demon Deacons (7-3, 3-3).

"It showed that we're focused. We don't feel like we've arrived," Lawrence said. "We have a lot more ahead of us."

Especially if the Tigers play like this.

Lawrence and Higgins connected on a 14-yard scoring pass on Clemson's first drive and Travis Etienne followed with a 14-yard run for a 14-0 lead five minutes into the game. The Tigers got it going again in the half's final minute with Lawrence finding Higgins between a pair of defenders on another 14-yard scoring pass with 42 seconds left. Cornerback A.J. Terrell got an interception with 20 seconds left - the second pick thrown by Wake Forest passer Jamie Newman - and Lawrence threw a perfect strike to Higgins from 30 yards out as Clemson led 31-3 at the break.

"We came out strong, then we lost a little tempo in the first quarter," Higgins said. "We decided to get back on track."

Lawrence's last scoring throw was a 10-yarder to Frank Ladson. That matched Lawrence's career best accomplished twice last season against Georgia Tech and Florida State.

This one figured to have more at stake as surprising Wake Forest had only one ACC loss heading into November and looked for an upset at Clemson to gain the ACC Atlantic's spot in the league championship game. But he Demon Deacons were beaten at Virginia Tech, 36-17 last week and Clemson clinched its fifth consecutive division crown with a 55-10 win at North Carolina State a week ago.

Wake Forest lost two straight games for the first time this season. The Demon Deacons, who were averaging 487 yards a game, managed just 105 yards in this one.

It was Wake Forest's first game without receiver Sage Surratt, who had been leading the ACC with more than 111 yards a game.

"We're not at that level yet and we're certainly not close to that level when we're short-handed," Demon Deacons coach Dave Clawson said.

Lawrence, the 6-foot-6 sophomore, left in the third quarter, finishing 21 of 27 for 272 yards.

Etienne had 121 yards, his sixth consecutive game with 100 or more yards and his seventh this season.

Associated Press


November 16, 2019

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